Traveling overseas: Guide to a safe and healthy overseas trip
Traveling overseas: Guide to a safe and healthy trip

Traveling overseas: Guide to a safe and healthy trip

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What to know before traveling overseas.

Be aware of money in different cultures

Many people in other countries look at Americans as being wealthy in comparison to themselves. They may pull out the red carpet and find it hard to understand that you might be scraping the bottom of the barrel for your vacation experience. Wealth however is relative, and to a houseboy in Bali we are indeed much better off. A $50 tip in Bali could represent a month’s wages in some instances.

You will be taking on an exciting challenge

When traveling anywhere new, you have the opportunity to view the world from an entirely new perspective. Some things you can learn about are:

  • People. You’ll no doubt come home with the knowledge that all people of the world are amazingly alike despite the obvious differences. Children especially the same in all countries and it is only as we become older that cultural differences start to show.
  • Laws. Remember you are not at home now and no matter whether you agree with the laws or not you are obliged to abide by them. If you do not you will displaying an unwelcome arrogance and could suffer a stern penalty.
  • Clothing. In the US, we are used to a very liberal tolerance as far as clothing is concerned. We can move around freely dressed and not think anything about it – some attire can be quite offensive in some countries.
  • Customs. In some places leaving your shoes on can be severely frowned upon, while at the same time, showing of bare arms or bare feet are definite no-nos. Even the hand you eat from can cause concern in some middle east countries.
  • Religion. When visiting religious sites many of these customs are strictly enforced. It is advisable to take a long sleeved jumper with you at all times, even in the heat of summer.

Compare travel money

Updated September 24th, 2018
Name Product Currency Conversion Fee Annual Fee APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases
None
$195
16.74% variable
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
None
$0
14.74%, 18.74% or 24.74% variable
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees
None
$495
16.74% variable
Mastercard Black Card members receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
None
$995
16.74% variable
Earn points every time you spend. Luxury Card enhances your purchasing power by providing you with one (1) point for every one dollar ($1) you spend. Every purchase gets you closer to the rewards you want.
None
16.74%, 22.49% or 25.49% variable
Get 4 points back on dining, 3 on travel, 2 on Uber rides and online shopping and 1 on other purchases, and redeem points for Uber credits, gift cards or cash back.
None
$0
16.74% to 24.74% variable
An intro offer rewards cardholders with a $250 value (25,000 online bonus points) after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening
None
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
14.74%, 21.24% or 24.74% variable
None
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.74% to 24.74% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
None
$95
17.74% to 24.74% variable
Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
None
$450
17.74% to 24.74% variable
Earn 50,000 BONUS POINTS after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening* — that's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
None
$550
None (Charge Card)
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
None
$450
17.74% to 24.74% variable
Enjoy United Club membership, Premier Access® travel services, free checked bags, plus earn miles on every purchase.
None
$75
16.74% to 24.74% variable
Buy one ticket, get one for just the taxes and fees ($0 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22) after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening. There are no blackout dates.
None
$195
17.49% to 26.49% variable
Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles(MQMs) after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

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    Don’t forget your health insurance

    Make sure you adequate health insurance that will protect you under all circumstances. Not all countries of the world practice the same basic health practices, and because of this you could be vulnerable to many illnesses you haven’t even heard of back home.

    Details Features
    Seven Corners Trip Protection Insurance
    Seven Corners Trip Protection Insurance
    Travel with a smile - protect your trip cost, your medical expenses, & your belongings.
    • Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Expenses up to $250,000
    • Trip Cancellation – 100% of Trip Cost
    • Trip Interruption – up to 150% of Trip Cost
    • Political Evacuation - $20,000
    • Lost, Stolen or Damaged Baggage – up to $2,500
    • Emergency Medical Evacuation – up to $1 million
    Go to site More info
    Travelex Travel Max
    Travelex Travel Max
    TravelEx's most comprehensive protection plan for the comprehensive traveler. Offers optional Cancel For Any Reason upgrade.
    • Trip Cancellation - 100% of Insured Trip Cost
    • Trip Interruption - 150% of Insured Trip Cost
    • Trip Delay - $1000
    • Medical Expense Benefits - $100,000
    Go to site More info
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Essential
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Essential
    RoamRight’s Essential travel insurance package can be broken down into three critical parts: Trip Cancellation insurance, tourist health insurance, and baggage insurance.
    • Cancellation Cover - 100% Cost of Trip
    • Emergency Medical Expenses - $15,000
    • Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation - $150,000
    • Baggage and Personal Effects Cover - $750
    Go to site More info
    STA Travel Standard International
    STA Travel Standard International
    Get affordable cover for the essentials of options with STA's mid-level cover policy. This option will still provide up to $1500 in luggage cover and up to $100,000 in medical cover.
    • Trip Cancellation Cover - 100% of trip cost insured up to $10,000
    • Emergency Medical Expenses Cover - Up to $100,000
    • Baggage and Personal Effects - Up to $1,500
    • Trip Delay - Up to $500
    Go to site More info
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Preferred
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Preferred
    As the name implies, the Preferred package provides coverage for most trips and vacations.
    • Cancellation Cover - 100% Cost of Trip
    • Emergency Accident & Medical Expenses - $50,000
    • Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation - $500,000
    • Accidental Death and Dismemberment - $10,000
    Go to site More info
    Travelex Cancel for Any Reason
    Travelex Cancel for Any Reason
    Cancel For Any reason upgrade available with the Travel Max plan. Cancel for any reason - no questions asked.
    • Reimburses up to 75% of the insured trip cost
    • 100% cover if delayed to departure and loose at least 30%
    Go to site More info
    Atlas Travel
    Atlas Travel
    Provides customizable coverage for specific losses. Cover can be tailored to provide a balance between the basic essentials and premium cover.
    • Illness and Injury Cover - Up to $1 million
    • Emergency Medical Evacuation - Up to $1 million
    • Lost Checked Luggage - Up to $500
    • Travel Delay - $100/day up to 2 days
    Go to site More info
    Atlas Premium
    Atlas Premium
    Provides quality cover for a range of benefits with higher cover limits. Premium plan is perfect for travellers with health concerns looking for total protective cover.
    • Illness and Injury Cover - Up to $2 million
    • Emergency Medical Evacuation - Up to $1 million
    • Lost Checked Luggage - Up to $1,000
    • Travel Delay - $200/day up to 2 days
    Go to site More info
    Travelex Flight Insure Plus
    Travelex Flight Insure Plus
    Provides option to choose between different levels of flight insurance protection.
    • Flight Accident AD&D - Up to $1 Million
    • Baggage - $2,000
    • Medical Expense Benefits - $2,500
    • Medical Evacuation / Repatriation - $25,000
    Go to site More info
    STA Travel Explorer Plus
    STA Travel Explorer Plus
    Get premiere cover for a whole range of options with STA's premium policy. This option will still provide up to $100,000 in medical expense cover and up to $3,000 in cancellation cover.
    • Trip Cancellation Cover - $3,000
    • Emergency Medical Expenses Cover - Up to $100,000
    • Baggage and Personal Effects - Up to $2,500
    • Trip Delay - Up to $1,000
    Go to site More info
    Allianz Domestic Travel Insurance
    Allianz Domestic Travel Insurance
    Allianz Domestic Travel Insurance makes sure you are covered incase your planned trip unexpectedly goes awry.
    • Trip coverage - Depends on plan
    • Baggage coverage - Up to $1,000
    • 24-hour hotline assistance
    • Existing medical coverage - Up to $500,000
    Go to site More info
    Allianz International Travel Insurance
    Allianz International Travel Insurance
    If you frequently travel abroad and want extra coverage in case you get sick, injured, or need to cancel your trip, Allianz International Travel Insurance is the perfect solution.
    • Trip coverage - Depends on plan
    • Baggage coverage - Up to $1,000
    • 24-hour hotline assistance
    • Existing medical coverage - Up to $1,000,000
    Go to site More info

    Don’t avoid those immunizations

    You must undergo certain immunizations before you can travel through some countries. Ask a doctor before traveling so you can be made aware of any precautions you should take. Malaria pills are a prime example if you are visiting Asian countries close to the tropics where the malaria carrying mosquito is common. Even if immunization is expensive, you must prep yourself before traveling.

    Don’t drink tainted water

    In many countries overseas their water is highly contaminated. You might see locals drinking it, but they have built up an immunity to its impurities. Be very careful what you drink or you could end up quite ill. If bottled water is not available, you should boil the water first – or resort to chlorine tablets.

    Make room for a small medical kit

    Your basic medical kit should contain a supply of painkillers, hand sanitizers, band aids, as well as any prescribed medication you may have to take. It is a good idea to take enough prescribed medication with you to last your entire trip no matter where you will be traveling. Pharmacies might not be as readily available and you might need to visit a local doctor in order to get medication prescribed to.

    Documents are important in proving who you are

    Your personal identification documents proving that you are a US citizen entitled to be in a foreign country should always be on hand. Make copies of all your documents and put these copies in a safe place where you can always grab them if required, take another set with you as a back up while you travel.

    The type of documents you will need to take with you include the following:

    • Emergency contacts. This list could contain friends you know in the country you are visiting, the US Embassy in that country, and contacts back home so that your identity can be verified.
    • Insurance policies. Especially your travel and health insurances.
    • Accommodation details. You should have addresses and phone numbers, booking details, dates and payment confirmation of where you are staying.
    • All your travel plans. This should include flights, booking references, dates, times and payment confirmations.
    • Your passport. Guard this intently along with your visa’s that give approval for you to enter the relevant countries you are visiting while away from home.
    Did you know?

    The government provides a service that lets citizens notify the closet US Embassy or Consulate about their trip. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is free and can contact you in the event of an emergency, get you in touch with friends or family and offer general safety tips.

    Covering your tracks

    Before leaving, make sure you have someone visit your home daily to remove mail building up in your mailbox, take care of your pets and turn a light on at night. This could be a relative or a friend, but you could arrange to pay a neighbor a small amount to help you out.

    Kyle Morgan

    Kyle Morgan is a producer for finder.com who has worked for the USA Today network and Relix magazine, among other publications. He can be found writing about everything from the latest car loan stats to tips on saving money when traveling overseas. He lives in Asbury Park, where he loves exploring new places and sipping on hoppy beer. Oh, and he doesn't discriminate against buffalo wings — grilled or fried are just fine.

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